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Spar has come under fire for selling controversial minke whale meat in its Norwegian stores.

Fillets, strip meat and ‘ham’ products from the protected animal are available in many of Spar Norway’s 276 stores.

At present, it is illegal to hunt whale for international trade in Norwegian waters but the country’s self-allocation quotas are not yet approved by the International Whaling Commission. Pressure group the Environmental Investigation Agency has accused Spar of “propping up” the country’s struggling whaling industry and launched a public protest.

In response, a Spar spokeswoman said: “At all times Spar encourages responsible retailing practices that are in compliance with local regulations.”